Pope Francis explains the value of the elderly in discerning God's presence in daily life

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Pope Francis highlighted the lives of Simeon and Anna, the two elderly persons who recognized Jesus as the Messiah, in his catechesis on the value of old age. 

He said that their lives are an example of the call the elderly have to offer a “personal witness of faith,” and to thus “build bridges between the generations.”  

The Pope emphasized the value elderly people have in today's world. Particularly, in today's culture that “cultivates the illusion of eternal youth.”

“The lives and witness of the elderly,” says Pope Francis, “can teach us the primary importance of discerning God’s presence in our daily lives.”


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our continuing catechesis on the meaning and value of old age, in the light of God’s word, we now consider how the elderly Simeon and Anna can serve as an example for all the elderly. They too are called to offer a personal witness of faith and trust in the fulfillment of God’s promises, and thus build bridges between the generations.

While the passing of years dulls the physical senses, at this precious time in life the Holy Spirit can sharpen our spiritual senses.

How much our society needs older persons capable of recognizing and welcoming Christ’s presence and the gifts of his Spirit. A society that exalts pleasure and cultivates the illusion of eternal youth can easily grow anesthetized to the essential spiritual values of faith, wisdom, compassion and care for those in need.

The lives and witness of the elderly can ensure this spiritual grounding and teach us the primary importance of discerning God’s presence in our daily lives and the unfolding of his saving plan from one generation to the next.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Israel and the United States of America. May our Lenten journey bring us to celebrate Easter with hearts purified and renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Upon each of you, and your families, I invoke joy and peace in Christ our Redeemer.

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